Tuesday, December 7, 2021
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HomeTV47Female rhino drowns in mating mishap

Female rhino drowns in mating mishap

In Summary

  • Did you know there is actually no colour difference between white and black rhino?
  • The name is a mistranslation of the Afrikaans word ‘weit’ meaning ‘wide’ – which refers to their square shaped lips used for grazing. This is the main distinction between white rhino and black, which have a hooked lip for browsing. Technically, they’re both steely gray.

A female rhinoceros died at a zoo in the Netherlands after an attempt to introduce her to a new mate went tragically wrong.

Elena was reportedly shocked by the arrival of a male white rhino named Limpopo at the Wildlands Zoo in the city of Emmen near the German border.

After a 15-minute chase, an exhausted Elena slipped into a shallow pool of water and landed on her side. She was unable to get up. Efforts by the zookeepers to rescue the female rhino were futile.

“The zookeepers lured the male away from her. Unfortunately, this help came too late for Elena and she had already drowned,” the zoo said in a statement.

The zoo says that Limpopo, 19, arrived at the park in early September from another Dutch zoo where he sired three offspring. This is part of an European breeding programme.

Limpopo and two female rhinos at Wildlands zoo, sisters Elena and Zahra, started getting to know each other by smelling and seeing each other in separate pens.

AFP reports that the “most exciting” part was planned for Thursday morning when Limpopo was allowed into the area where the females were grazing.

“From that moment on, it became restless: Both women were startled by the male and instead of putting him in his place together, they both ran off. As a result, Limpopo gave chase. He seemed particularly focused on Elena, because she was the closest to him,” the zoo added.

A ‘rogue’ male rhino?

A German newspaper reports that Limpopo was moved from a German zoo six years ago because he “didn’t treat the female there properly.”

The southern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum) is listed as “near threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Facts about southern white rhinos

According to the IUCN, this subspecies was on the brink of extinction by the end of the 19th century – having been reduced to just one small population of approximately 20-50 animals in South Africa. However, in one of the most successful collective conservation efforts of the century, there are now thriving populations in east and southern Africa – totalling over 20,000 animals.

Rhino horns are still sought after by criminal gangs, with demand coming from Asia and the Middle East where rhino horn is considered to have medicinal properties.

A kilo of rhino horn can fetch up to $60,000 on the black market. Ironically, it is just made of the same substance as human fingernails – keratin.

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